Listen with your eyes

6 04 2012

I was listening to Radio 4 the other day and was grabbed by a sentence from Book of the Week –

“Many of us don’t distinguish between the acts of listening and hearing. It’s one thing to hear passively and quite another to be able to listen fully and actively engaged….I’d always used my ears as filters for shutting noise out rather than as portals allowing large amounts of information in.”

I do that too, with eyes as well as ears.  I filter the hum of the distant motorway and with it the birdsong in the garden; I see the path to take me through the day and miss the butterflies and daffodils; I hear my friend’s words, “I’m OK” and miss the bitten lip. 

But most of all I filter out Jesus’ question – “Are you listening to me? Really listening?” – and miss his promise:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

These amazing highspeed photos were taken by Linden Gledhill of paint dancing to the loud sounds of a speaker.

I’m a few days late for my quarterly review of progress. You may remember that I had a go at using Lectio Divina as a Bible reading method. It didn’t last long! I did give it a fair try and here are some things I learnt:

  • it helped me to slow down and think about what I’m reading instead of rushing through to tick a box
  • background music sometimes enhanced the reading experience, and sometimes was a distraction
  • I like to understand context and I missed my friends who have written expertly about passages of the bible I was reading

So, the carry overs –

  • I use the podcast which incorporates music, reading, comment and time for reflection
  • I do extra digging around if there’s something I don’t understand

But the most important of all – God meets me in different ways, at different times, and… unexpectedly.  I need to clear the filters, open the portals and engage fully so that I don’t miss him.

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